This bar is the result of many weeks of contemplating what I could do to get my kids to enjoy a granola bar that wasn't full of honey or rice or corn syrups. I knew that my youngest daughter wasn't keen on the prune puree "adhesive" but I was really interested in keeping this healthy. Lying in bed one night, it occured to me that dates probably grind up much the same way as prunes but they are far more sweet.
This worked well and because dates are so sweet, I was able to reduce the honey by 2/3 from my original recipe. Dates are also high in fiber Here's to a healthy, nutrient-rich snack that is great for the child in each of us!
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cook)
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raw pepitas
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon white chia seeds (see note)
1 teaspoon cocoa powder, unsweetened
3/4 cup pitted dates (see note)
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoons raw honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 ounce of dark chocolate, 60 % cacao or higher, chopped into "chips"
1 – Peheat oven to 300 degrees. Meanwhile, line baking pan with two sheets of overlapped foil (see photo, below).
2 –Spread oats onto a baking sheet and toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring once or twice and watching carefully as to not burn. Set aside to cool.
3 – While oats are cooling, place dates into the base of a food processor and puree until a thick paste has formed. If they are very dry, you may need to add 1-2 teaspoons of water; add a little at a time only using as much as is needed to form paste. Set aside.
4 – In large bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia and cocoa powder.
5 – Using hands (it is helpful to have gloves here) work date puree, almond butter and honey into oat mixture until well combined.
6 - Sprinkle vanilla over mix and work through thoroughly.
7 - Mix in chocolate chips.
8 - Press mixture into pan. Using an object with a flat bottom, press the mixture evenly and uniformly into pan. As shown in the photo below, I used the bottom of a small Kinetic Go Green Storage Container that I obtained from the NutriMirror store.
9 - Place pan in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until warm and the surface has begun to shine slightly from the heat. The objective here is NOT to cook the bars, just to fuse the ingredietns together.
10 - Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then, using foil overhang, lift entire recipe out of pan in one piece. Score into eight even pieces and cool completely. Wrap in wax paper and store in larger container or zipper bag in the refrigerator until ready to eat or pack into your snack sack for the day.
~ Recipe makes 8 bars. ~
Nutritional data* per 1/8 of recipe:
*Nutritional data calculated using ingredient compilation program and is deemed close but not exact.